Last Friday, Public Knowledge joined Common Cause, Center for Rural Strategies, and Benton Foundation in filing comments with the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau in response to a Public Notice seeking comment on the state of fixed wireline competition.
On his very first day as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai dedicated himself to closing the digital divide and to “work to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.” Sounds promising for America, right? Unfortunately, Chairman Pai hasn’t followed through with this promise. Instead, the Trump-appointed FCC Chairman has rubberstamped the elimination of several policies and protections that are critical to closing the digital divide.
I believe AT&T’s announcement last week about its
plans to upgrade its network and replace its rural copper lines with wireless
is the single most important development in telecom since passage of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. It impacts just about every aspect of wireline
and wireless policy.
Good news, the FCC has decides to one again reboot its seven year old proceeding on “special access.” Given that I have been flogging the FCC since 2006 to do something about this, with occasional reminders since then, I am obviously pleased. For those new to this, “special access” is the rate businesses and competitors to telcos pay to telcos for wholesale access to their telecommunications capacity. When you place a call over your Sprint or Cricket cell phone, the call goes to the tower.